Antisocial Personality Disorder

Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD) is a complex mental health condition. People with ASPD have a significant disregard for the well-being of others fueled by a lack of empathy. They also follow rules and regulations and can be quite manipulative. They are more likely to be charged with crimes than other members of the population. Some people believe that they are more like to commit violent crimes, than others. More men are diagnosed with this disorder than women.


These symptoms can begin before but often become evident during late adolescence or early adulthood. Some common symptoms include:

  • Disregard for the rights and well-being of others
  • Deceit & dishonesty: lying, manipulation, con artistry
  • Impulsivity & recklessness
  • Anger, discontentment, and aggression lead to frequent conflict with others
  • Nonconformity & disregard for societal norms, rules & regulations, often causing legal issues


The development of ASPD is believed to be influenced by a combination of genetic, environmental, and neurological factors:

  • Childhood trauma, trauma, and highly stressful life events (e.g. abuse, loss, heartbreak, disaster)
  • Family history/Genetics (runs in the family)
  • Brain abnormalities


  • Primary Psychopathy: exhibits more of the emotional and interpersonal traits of ASPD, such as superficial charm, lack of empathy, and manipulative behavior.
  • Secondary Psychopathy: characterized by impulsive behaviors, high levels of aggression, and a more reactive response to stressors.


Because people with ASPD have difficulty forming genuine bonds, working with a therapist is challenging, but not impossible.

African Context

This disorder seriously affects both the individual diagnosed and the society. There is a limited understanding of mental health in Africa. The more common disorders receive some attention. Antisocial personality disorder is treated more as a choice and often met with punishments, rather than treatment. In some cases, the person is written off as having a bad character. In other cases, if the individual is from an affluent home, money is used to cover up or settle legal matters that may arise. Nevertheless, because it is a difficult disorder to treat, many will go without the necessary treatment needed. This is an interesting article about a person recovering from ASPD. 

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